In May, after his surprise election, I attempted to discuss race equality and other important issues for the capital city with Boris. But such was the fear in the Conservative Party that the gaffe-prone politician would put his foot in it, I had to first meet with his chief political adviser, James McGrath.
The tactic back-fired when Australian immigrant McGrath responded clumsily to a comment I put to him from Black columnist Darcus Howe that the election of the right-winger Boris as Mayor might just trigger a mass exodus of older Caribbeans back to the islands from which they came. He retorted: "Well, let them go if they don't like it here." McGrath was sacked for the remark which had chilling echoes of the infamous racist Enoch Powell about it.
Then Johnson's deputy mayor for young people Ray Lewis, a Black suited and booted combination of Arthur Daley and Walter Mitty, was forced to resign following another scandal in which he was exposed as a liar. But, when you look at why Labour took power in 1997 in a public backlash against Conservative Party sleaze - remember discredited senior MPs Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer - Lewis should not be a surprise.
Still The-Latest wanted to give Mayor Boris a fair hearing and so I emailed his press chief Guto Harri this week to arrange an interview. Here is Harri's reply:
The-Latest has criticised Mayor Boris's buffoonery when he described Black children as "picaninnies" and lampooned Africans for their "water melon smiles". But we have never joined the attack when his opponents have called him racist.
PS: Boris, we are prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt if you stop hiding behind your spin doctors and talk to our readers. Come on, you're a seasoned journalist and politician. Tell your nanny-like minders where to get off and let's have a chat.
Copyright © 2008 The-Latest Ltd.